Leopold Jϋdell was born on 25 July 1848 in Altona, Schleswig-Holstein, the youngest son of a prominent local merchant, Wolff Jϋdell and his first wife Hannchen née Mendel.
At this time several provinces of modern Germany were being united into a German Confederation with the help of aggressive Prussian occupation, and there was armed conflict in those parts of Europe where the changes were unwelcome. In 1867 control of Altona passed from Denmark to the Kingdom of Prussia, creating the entity of Schleswig-Holstein. Such turmoil and, probably, additional strain imposed on them by increased cultural discrimination, prompted Leopold’s generation of Jϋdells to emigrate from Altona.
After renouncing his Prussian citizenship, and a few weeks before the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, 21 years old Leopold made his way to London where he boarded the City of Adelaide in May 1870 to join his brothers Hermann and Moritz Wolff who had already migrated to South Australia. The ship left Shadwell Basin in the River Thames on 24th May, called at Plymouth and reached Port Adelaide on 18th August after a voyage of nearly three months. Throughout the journey Leopold kept a diary of each day’s events written in his native Germanic dialect.